Become a CPSD™
As demographics continue to change, organizations increasingly need experts to implement or oversee their supplier diversity programs. Leading companies realize the competitive advantage that supplier diversity can provide. With a CPSD™, you can become the expert they need and guide them to make intelligent and profitable supplier diversity decisions. Discover how a CPSD™ can make you indispensable.
The Steps to Achieving Your CPSD™
Step 1: Know the Criteria (Eligibility Requirements)
You will need the following professional experience and/or education:
- Three years professional (non-clerical, nonsupport) or supply management experience and have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university, -OR-
- Five years of professional (non-clerical, nonsupport) supplier diversity or supply management experience (which does not need to be your primary function)
Step 2: Get Help Preparing for Exams
There are two exams to prepare for with the CPSD. They include:
- Supply Management Core (180 Questions — 3 hours 15 minutes*)
- Essentials in Supplier Diversity — CPSD Exam 2 (150 Questions –2 hours 45 minutes*)
* This time allows 15 minutes extra for tutorial review when factoring the exam seat time at the testing center.
We offer a self-study CPSD Learning System, where you can study at your own pace for the Supply Management Core and Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exams. This digital learning system provides study reading material and practice exams. For candidates who hold an active CPSM or C.P.M., you only need to study for and take the Essentials in Supplier Diversity Exam, as you took the Supply Management Core Exam while earning your CPSM or C.P.M. certification.
If you hold an active CPSM or C.P.M., select the Essentials in Supplier Diversity Learning System. If you do not hold an active CPSM of C.P.M., select the CPSD Learning System.
Exam Specification Preparation
Step 3: You’re Ready! Now Purchase and Schedule Your Exams
You are prepared and now it’s time to purchase and schedule your exam. Exam testing facilities are located throughout the world or we offer proctored exam options that you can take from the comfort of your own home.
Supply Management Core exam available in English, Chinese or Korean.
Essentials in Supplier Diversity exam available in English.
- Supply Management Core - Purchase Exam
- Essentials in Supplier Diversity - Purchase Exam
To schedule your exam, go to our partner, PeasonVue’s website at: https://home.pearsonvue.com/ism
Step 4: You Passed! Submit Your Application
You completed the toughest part. Congratulations! Now it is time to complete and submit your application. Here are the items you will need to complete and process your certification application:
- Proof of education (Copy of diploma, transcripts)
- Work background/experience
- Complete and pass all required exams
- Payment information for processing fee
CPSD™ Frequently Asked Questions
What are the criteria to obtain the CPSD™?
3 years full-time, professional supplier diversity or supply management experience (non-clerical, nonsupport) and have a regionally accredited bachelor’s degree1 OR 5 years of supplier diversity or supply management experience (non-clerical, nonsupport) without a degree.
Pass 2 CPSD™ Exams.
1 Regionally accredited means that your bachelor's degree was earned from a college or university that is recognized by one of the six U.S. accrediting organizations listed with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). Please email the Certification Department if you have questions regarding your degree.
What is considered acceptable work experience?
Full-time professional experience where supply management, procurement or supply chain is the primary job function. Clerical and support roles do not apply. Candidates can submit a Work Experience Evaluation if they are unsure if their experience qualifies. This evaluation is optional and a fee will apply. You can find the work experience review form and instructions here.
Do I have to have the required experience before I can take the exams?
No. Exam scores are valid for 4 years from the test date. You can take the exams as you work towards your experience and/or degree.
What is the average cost to obtain the CPSD™?
The average cost for ISM members ranges from $840 - $1,470 USD. The average cost for nonmembers ranges from $1,280 - $2,180. ISM membership is not required to become a CPSD™, however significant savings, along with a host of member benefits are enjoyed by ISM members. Click here for information about joining as an ISM member.
Do you offer reimbursement through the GI Bill?
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reimburses for CPSM® Exam fees.
Our exams are specifically approved for the GI Bill. The VA can pay only for the cost of the tests and not other fees connected with obtaining the or CPSM® (study materials, application fees, etc.).
ACCORDING TO THE GI BILL WEB SITE, YOU MAY RECEIVE THIS BENEFIT IF YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR:
The Montgomery GI Bill (also called the MGIB or Chapter 30)
- VEAP (also called Chapter 32), or
- Dependents Educational Assistance (also called DEA or Chapter 35) (DEA is a benefit for children, spouses, and surviving spouses of veterans with 100% service-connected disability or who died in service or due to service-connected disability.)
You can receive up to $2,000 per test (but not more than the cost of the test). There is no limit to the number of tests you can take.
For more details please visit http://inquiry.vba.va.gov/weamspub/buildSearchLCCriteria.do. When using the search feature, keep in mind that ISM is located in the state of Arizona.
How long will it take to get my CPSD™?
Timeframes vary based upon candidates’ study program. For those who are self-paced learners, the average is approximately 6 – 12 months to completion, depending on experience and time available to study.
What content is covered in the CPSD™ Exams?
There are two CPSD™ Exams. Below is a break-down of the exam by sections, with the number of questions and time allowed. See the Exam Specifications for further details.
Section Name # of Questions
Developing Business Case/Obtaining Executive Support 16
Developing a Supplier Diversity Program 27
Project Management for Supplier Diversity Professionals 3
Influencing and Partnering with Internal Stakeholders 16
Establishing Diverse Supplier Certification Process 2
Establishing Diverse Supplier Qualification Process 12
Developing Diverse Suppliers 8
Managing Relationships with Diverse Suppliers 13
Financing and Budgeting 10
Establishing Metrics and Reporting 15
Performing Advocacy and Market Outreach 16
Sustainability, Social Responsibility and Ethics 12
for the Supplier Diversity Profession
2 Hours 30 Minutes
How are the Exams scored? What is passing?
ISM maintains multiple versions, or forms, of the exam. While the content of the exam remains constant, the actual questions used in the exam will change. Different forms of the exam use different questions, the level of difficulty will vary slightly from test to test. To compensate for these variations, a statistical procedure known as equating is used to account for differences in test difficulty. The passing score is not calculated based upon percentages.
For example, let's suppose we have two test forms of an exam — Test A and Test B. Now suppose it is established that in order to pass Test A, a person must answer 32 out of 60 questions correct. Furthermore, suppose that Test B is somewhat easier than Test A. To compensate for this difference, the passing score for Test B is adjusted to prevent any "bonus" being given to the candidates taking Test B. Thus, it may be established that a candidate must get a score of 34 out of 60 on Test B in order to pass. This is test equating. It holds candidates to the same standard in terms of difficulty, regardless of which version is taken.
Due to this method of equating the percentage of correct answers varies from exam to exam. Then, to maintain consistency in scoring, a second statistical procedure called scaling is used. Scaling converts all scores to a scale ranging from 100 to 600 with a passing score set at 400. Thus, the scores you receive from ISM are actually scaled scores. If the scaled score on the Supply Management Core Exam ranges from 100 to 390, this means you failed that Exam. If the scaled score is in the range of 400 to 600, you passed that Exam. Scaling on the CPSD Essentials in Supplier Diversity exam follows this same methodology.
What do I do if I fail an exam?
If you fail an exam, you should use the score report that you receive from the test center to re-focus your study effort on any task area(s) where you did not answer approximately 75% of the questions correctly. Then revisit the study material you used to prepare for the exams and purchase additional sources if more in-depth studying is needed.
To re-test, you will again need to register with ISM and pay the appropriate member or non-member fee.
ISM has a 30-day retake policy for the CPSM® Exams. If you are unsuccessful on an exam you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that specific exam.
Do I have to pay to re-take the exam?
Yes, you will again need to register with ISM and pay the appropriate member or non-member fee. There is no discount on re-tests.
ISM has a 30-day retake policy for the CPSM® Exams. If you are unsuccessful on an exam you must wait 30 days before you are eligible to re-take that specific exam.
Am I able to see the questions that I got wrong on an exam?
Specific exam questions and answers are not made public. A score report for each exam is provided upon completion. The score report provides detail about the task areas where questions were missed. Task areas that you answered less than 75% of the questions correct is an area that requires more study.
How long are my CPSD™ Exam scores valid?
CPSD™ Exam scores are valid for 4 years from the date they are taken. If an exam score is more than 4 years old, the exam must be taken and passed again before applying for the CPSD™.
How do I register for CPSD™ Exam(s)? How do I know where the closest test center is located?
Your exam registration is valid for six months from the day ISM processes your registration. Payment is required in advance. You must test by the expiration date to avoid forfeiting your exam fees.
Individual candidate testing is done at Pearson VUE Testing Centers and can be scheduled at your convenience.
What kind of identification (I.D.) will I need in order to test?
For your exam, you must bring one valid photo I.D. with signature that exactly matches the name on your exam registration.
Your I.D. MUST be one of the following:
- Driver's License*
- Military I.D.*
- Official State, Government, or National I.D.
- Employee I.D.
- Student I.D.
- Photo credit card
No other forms of I.D. will be accepted.
*Driver's License, Passport and Military IDs that have a digital signature encoded will only be accepted as valid ID if accompanied by another valid ID with signature.
Note: On the day of your exam, if you are unable to produce a valid I.D. matching the name in ISM's database, you will not be allowed to test and all registration fees will be forfeited.
Note: Pearson VUE uses biometrics in all test centers. Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing a person based on a physical characteristic and are primarily used to combat identity fraud. One such method involves the examinee placing a palm on a scanner, which results in an electronic palm print.
What else should I know about taking my exam at a Pearson VUE Test Center?
- Plan to arrive 30 minutes before your appointment. If you are late, you will be considered a "no show" and your exam fees will be forfeited.
- You will be required to leave all personal belongings in a locker. This includes bags, cell phones, watches, wallets, notes, books or other materials not authorized for this exam.
- An erasable note board and pen will be provided for the exam. They will be collected at the end of the test.
- Calculators will be also be provided.
- Wear comfortable, layered clothing. Test center temperatures vary.
How do I reschedule or cancel an existing appointment?
To reschedule or cancel your test appointment, you must contact Pearson VUE at least 24-hours prior to the scheduled local testing time. For example, an 8:30am appointment on Monday must be rescheduled by 8:30am on Sunday (all times are local). If you do not reschedule or cancel your appointment in time, all funds are forfeited.
Fees may apply if any changes or cancellations are made within 48 hours of the scheduled appointment time.
Please DO NOT call your local Pearson VUE test center to make appointments or cancel or reschedule appointments.
How can I take CPSD™ Exams at my company?
ISM offers onsite testing for groups. To request more information regarding on-site testing, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I schedule CPSD™ Review Courses at my company?
ISM offers onsite training and review courses. To require more information, please contact our Corporate Services team at email@example.com.
How do I apply and check the status of my application?
After you have met all requirements, you will need to apply for certification. You can apply online here.
Application processing may take up to 4 weeks. We offer a rush service for an additional fee. If rush service is purchased, we guarantee that your application will be reviewed within 2 business days.
I am having issues getting my work experience documentation, do you have any suggestions?
Remember to use employer letterhead, have a current or previous supervisor or human resource department sign each letter, and include each title, and the length of time the title was held (from mo/yr to mo/yr).
Titles referenced in the samples are representative only and do not cover the range of titles held or used in the field.
Questions? Call ISM Member Services at 1.480.752.6276, opt. 8
Some of the more common situations encountered when documenting experience, and recommended solutions, are covered below:
MY PREVIOUS EMPLOYER IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS OR THE BUSINESS HAS BEEN SOLD OR MERGED WITH ANOTHER COMPANY.
Contact a previous supervisor, or other individual you worked with, who can certify your employment history and have them write a letter for you. Have them explain the situation briefly and identify their previous relationship to you within the company.
I CANNOT LOCATE ANY INFORMATION ON MY PREVIOUS EMPLOYER.
Consider researching information at your public library or local government entity for documents of incorporation. You may be able to find the entity holding the personnel/employment records. You may also want to ask your present employer if they verified your previous experience, job titles, dates held, and so on. If this was done, your current employer can certify previous experience.
I'M NOT SURE MY JOB TITLE OR JOB DUTIES ARE ELIGIBLE.
If you have a title that is not normally associated with professional purchasing, supply management, or supply chain management, and you are not sure if you qualify, you may get your experience approved upfront for a nominal $25 fee. Experience must be documented on an official job description or letter on company letterhead. ISM does not allow self-verification. Letters should come from your current or previous human resources department or supervisor, explain your responsibilities in detail and list job duties. Please make sure they specify the percentage of time spent in each area/job function. ISM will review the material and notify you of the decision.
MY EXPERIENCE WAS GAINED WHILE IN THE MILITARY. HOW DO I DOCUMENT THAT EXPERIENCE?
Ask your commanding officer for a letter documenting your experience. In most cases we have received the DD 214. In some cases military review or discharge documents may also help document your experience.
Once earned, how do I maintain my CPSD™?
CPSD’s are required to recertify every 3 years with 60 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs). CPSD’s are encouraged to recertify within the 60 days prior to the expiration date. Once your certification has expired, you will be given a one-year grace period in which you can recertify with no penalty. Candidates in their grace period will not be recognized as a CPSD™ nor will they be allowed to use the designation. Certificate dates will appear on the certificate as if the recertification had been completed prior to the expiration of your previous certificate.
Please notify the Certification Department when you move or change jobs to keep your records current, as we may attempt to notify individuals when their designation has expired. You can also update your contact information by logging into ismworld.org and going to My Account to update your contact information.
What are the requirements for online exams?
In order to ensure the proper environment for proctored exams, you must have a quiet, private location, a reliable computer with a webcam, access to one of the approved internet browsers, and a strong internet connection. It is your responsibility to verify your computer meets the technical requirements to take the online proctored exam. Please review the technical requirements on the Pearson Vue Online Exam page under Additional Information. It is also your responsibility to run a system test BEFORE registering for an online proctored exam. Visit the Pearson Vue online exam page to run a system test.
How do I purchase an online exam?
Whether you decide to take your exams at a testing center or online, the purchase process on the ISM website is the same. After purchasing your exam, your purchase confirmation email will contain details about how to schedule your exam through Pearson Vue. After you’ve selected the exam you want to take, choose the “home or office” option. Follow the remaining prompts to complete the scheduling process. Once you have successfully scheduled your exam appointment, you will be sent a confirmation email that will provide you with your appointment details and important things to know for your exam.
Are the online exams proctored?
Like the exams taken at a Pearson VUE testing center, online proctored exams are also live proctored. The only difference is that with online proctored exams, you are monitored by a remote proctor, along with enhanced security features and artificial intelligence technology.
What languages do the proctors speak?
The proctors speak English. In order to take an online proctored exam, you must be able to communicate verbally in English with the proctor. If you are unable, or not comfortable doing so, please schedule your exam at a local Pearson VUE testing center.
Are there any geographic limitations for taking online proctored exams?
Online exams are currently not available in the People's Republic of China, Japan, Slovenia, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.
How can I obtain a replacement certificate?
You can find the replacement certification request form and instructions here.